PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2012, 12:00am


Rule of law a precious commodity

I found the premise behind Lau Nai-keung's opinion piece ('Hong Kong needs a time-out from self-serving legislators', May 25) to be very troubling.

Without coming out and saying it, he uses the recent incident of the Legco filibuster to call in to question the very idea of rule of law in Hong Kong. He contrasts a 'Western mindset' whose legal procedure trumps common sense as being responsible for the filibuster as opposed to the Chinese way where, 'legality has no overriding authority'.

First, creating a confrontational dichotomy between Western and Chinese ways is not entirely helpful in an international city like Hong Kong. Second, to suggest that Hongkongers may find a society where 'legality has no overriding authority' appealing is largely insulting.

Mr Lau would replace legal authority with 'rules [that] should be adaptable to changing conditions ... If that purpose is good, then it is OK; but if it is bad, then no way.'

The Hong Kong people would then be subject to the whims of what was thought to be 'good' that day. And whose version of what is good do we use?

Mr Lau's idea of what is good would certainly be different than that of 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung. Also our chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying's version of common sense may be different from other community and business leaders.

In the years leading up to the handover, when even the most ardent Hong Kong Chinese nationalists were asked if there was any positive contribution British colonialism made to the city, most would grudgingly admit, 'the rule of law'.

To chip away at this precious commodity Hong Kong has, and which many countries desire, is to do so at our peril.

Steve Hackman, Ma Wan

Hospital exodus threat to patients

Medical personnel working in public hospitals face increasing workloads and rising expectations from patients.

They are under too much pressure, and more experienced doctors and nurses are leaving for the private sector.

They can earn higher salaries for shorter hours. With Hospital Authority staff becoming more stressed, I have fears that the system is facing a serious crisis.

If workforce numbers decline, then there is always a chance that nurses and doctors who are physically and mentally worn out will make mistakes.

In a hospital, such mistakes can prove costly, because people's lives are at stake.

Staffing problems can also mean that patients may face a long wait before they can get treatment or see a specialist.

Wealthier patients can always make the choice of going to a private hospital, but not all Hongkongers can afford to take this option and I am concerned about those individuals who are vulnerable, but who face a long wait. It would appear that, when it comes to medical care, wealthier residents have more rights than poorer ones.

I am not surprised that some of these poorer people sometimes feel so desperate.

The government has tried to take measures to deal with the problems in our public hospitals, but they have neither been effective nor useful and things have got worse.

Bringing in overseas doctors and getting private medics to work part-time in the public sector are short-sighted policies.

Officials must seek long-term ideas that can solve the problems I have described.

Wong Wing-sze, Sha Tin

Beijing is bullying its neighbours

Hu Shuli needs to brush up on her geography ('China must lead in forging a new security order in the South China Sea', May 24).

She says the Philippines is warmongering when what it has been trying to do is stop the Chinese navy transgressing on Philippine territory and prevent their fishing boats from poaching fish and precious coral.

If she looks at the map, Scarborough Shoal and the Spratly Islands are close to Luzon and Palawan, and, in fact, closer to Vietnam than to China itself.

What it boils down to is that a large, newly powerful country is bullying its smaller, almost defenceless neighbours when it should instead be promoting harmonious relations in the region.

Renata Lopez, Wan Chai

Gays need workplace legislation

It is necessary to promote and create more gay-friendly workplaces in Hong Kong.

The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees are often neglected.

While many people say that discrimination against LGBT members of staff is unacceptable, some still face biased attitudes in the workplace.

Heterosexual people do sometimes feel prejudice regarding fellow LGBT workers.

However, these are attitudes which have to change in Hong Kong.

We have to accept that all individuals have the freedom to be who they are.

What matters in a workplace is the performance of the employee, regardless of his (or her) sexual orientation. However, there are still firms where there is a culture of prejudice where it is thought that an LGBT individual cannot become a productive and senior member of staff.

I was quite surprised by surveys (for a group promoting corporate social responsibility) which showed that 35 per cent of the working population considered it unacceptable to give LGBT staff a role where they face customers and 25 per cent of them said it was acceptable not to offer a job to such a person. This is shameful.

We should never, ever treat these colleagues as outcasts. Hong Kong has been dubbed a city of diversity and this attitude should extend to our workplace.

Clearly, something must be done to create an inclusive environment in the office.

The relevant anti-discrimination legislation should be enacted.

Companies must accept corporate social responsibility and should try to create a gay-friendly environment.

LGBT employees deserve to be treated fairly at workplaces in Hong Kong.

Kellia Wan, Tseung Kwan O

Evangelical Christians got it wrong

An evangelical Christian group condemned Lady Gaga while on her Asian tour, saying her concerts promoted homosexuality and that she had a bad influence on the younger generation.

Their campaign was far more disturbing than any concert by Lady Gaga.

It represented an insensitive campaign which denies the rights of gays and lesbians.

Society has moved on, and conservatives and evangelicals must take note of that.

These hardline Christians must learn to be more tolerant. Homosexuality is no longer a social stigma.

On the contrary, society admires those who are brave enough to admit their sexual orientation.

Eric Wong, Tung Chung